Shenantaha Park mixes nature with recreation and history

Nature Series -Shenantaha Creek Park

BY Molly Congdon
Gazette Reporter
MALTA — Go ahead; brave the great outdoors!

Here’s part eleven in this summer’s exploration of public natural places in the Clifton Park/Halfmoon area.

Shenantaha Creek Park is our next spot to explore.

Location: East Line Road in Malta.

Description: Shenantaha (“deer water”) is the Iroquois name for the Ballston Creek, which forms the eastern boundary of the park. Here one will find a balance of active recreation, historical features and protected open space. The paved trail along this park is the Zim Smith Trail, where one can walk, bike and rollerblade.

In 1993, the Town Board commissioned the Ruhle Road Park Committee to plan a park on more than 56.1 acres of land along the Ballston Creek and an abandoned rail right of way. Since the land was essentially landlocked to vehicular access, the Town purchased an additional 5.29 acres for an access road in 1995. The park became a reality and opened to the public in 1997.

This place is rich with history. Shady woods full of oaks, maples, pines and hemlocks surround the old farmland; a mass of worn rocks rests waiting to be climbed; and the remains of a mill, which pressed flax seed oil, can be found along the creek.

Wildlife to see: Keep your eyes and ears open for birds, especially as summer is coming to a close.

Sights to see: The Shenantaha Creek Park is a place to take in what you see presently in front of your eyes, but also to use your imagination to wonder back in time to when Native Americans roamed the territory.

Level of difficulty: Walking the rocky areas could get dicey, but there are several foot trails that lead to a peaceful stream. You essentially select the level of difficulty yourself with the activities that you decide to do.

Don’t forget: There is no alcohol, no littering, and no hunting allowed in town parks. Pets are allowed, if they are leashed, on trails but are prohibited on the active areas of the parks and fields. Finally, all animal waste must be removed by the pet owner from the grounds. (Nothing is worse than stepping in poop). Parties of 15 or more people are required to reserve a pavilion.

Must bring: The essential for this park are similar to things you have been instructed to take with you for other preserves and nature trails: bug spray, water and a snack.